Thrifty Christmas Crafting

A wonderful guest post from Laura at  Adventures of an Ordinary  Parent
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Yes that’s true, but it’s also
the most expensive.  All that buying of Christmas trees, baubles, cards,
wrapping paper and, of course, the presents all takes its toll on the poor, old
wallet.
But this year for us has been slightly different.  It’s actually been a lot
of fun rather than the tense, stressful time it usually becomes.  You see,
this year, more than any other, my husband and I have had to get organised
early.  Being on maternity leave for nine of the last twelve months has seen our
household income slowly reduce to ‘scraping the barrel’ standards.  So we’ve
been thrifty, thought ahead and looked at doing things slightly differently to
make sure we don’t break our (slim) Christmas budget.  And we’ve done it, just
about.
And the best thing about it all?  I’ve been able to involve the children.
In fact, they’ve been doing the hard work for me (well, one of them at least.
The baby didn’t seem to show much interest in working for free).  Don’t you
just love child labour?!
There’s a definite ‘home-made’ theme for cards and gifts this year.  Not
for everyone, but certainly for close family.
My little girl is nearly three-years-old and we’ve had a brilliant time
together making Christmas cards for grandparents and great-grandparents.
There’s been lots of gluing, sticking and drawing involved and the result is
cards that will be treasured forever.  Part of our family live quite far away so
I know these little ‘gestures’ mean the world to them.
We also did the same with gift tags.  Using some spare card, I cut out
different shapes for my little girl to decorate.  Again, fantastic fun.  Then
the glitter came out and it turned into very messy fun. All completely worth it
of course, even if I was still finding specks of glitter a few days later
nestled in the carpet and under the sofa.
Going one step further, I thought that, instead of using shop-bought
wrapping paper, we would make our own.  We didn’t actually make the paper from
scratch, if that’s what you were thinking (that would have been a bit too
complicated), instead my nearly three-year-old painted and decorated plain paper
which we then used to wrap gifts for close family.  So, out came the easel and
paints and, again, my little girl adored being able to explore her creative
side.
I used A3 sheets of plain paper to do this but if you can get hold of a
roll of more flimsy paper, I think that would work even better because it’d be
easier to wrap presents (normal paper is quite stiff, especially once it’s been
painted).  Also, depending on the size of the present you are wrapping, it might
make more sense to cover it in paper first and then paint if afterwards.  I
don’t think that would work for a small gift but I would definitely have done it
that way if I had any bigger presents to wrap…and I would have introduced
finger and hand painting to the mix too.
All this has meant I’ve been having fun, my little girl has been having
TONS of fun, the baby kindly gave us enough quiet time to get all this done and
it’s saved me a small fortune in Christmas cards, paper and gift tags.  Thank
you kids!  And Merry Christmas!

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